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Joe Guzzardi: Mexico Meets Its Match in Donald Trump

For decades, Mexico has run roughshod over the United States, and brazenly undermined American sovereignty. Little wonder then that Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, threw a hissy fit when President Donald Trump announced that the United States would build the border wall, and that Mexico would pay for it.

Since Mexico has no experience dealing with administrations that put America first instead of kowtowing to it, Peña Nieto canceled his planned White House meeting with Trump.

Mexico’s multiple subversions of U.S. sovereignty are too numerous to list in a short opinion column, but here are a few lowlights:

In 1999, then-Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo joined forces with then-Gov. Gray Davis and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to kill California’s Proposition 187, the ballot initiative voters overwhelmingly approved in 1994. Prop. 187 would have denied certain benefits to illegal immigrants.

In the months leading up to the overturn, Zedillo toured California with Davis at his side as the pair spoke glowingly about illegal immigration despite its obvious violation of U.S. law.

To this day, Californians still smart at Mexico’s interference and Davis’ treachery. Davis blocked appeal efforts.

In no democracy in the world are election results overturned without the voters having their day in court. Only in California would this happen when a pro-illegal immigrant governor, a Mexican foreign national and an immigrant advocacy group conspired to throw it out.

In another affront, Mexico has more consulates in the United States than any other foreign nation — more than 50 in all, with 10 in California and one that is thousands of miles from the border in St. Paul, Minn.

A consular office traditionally helps stranded travelers or promotes its nation’s exports. But Mexican consulates play active roles in U.S. politics. They have, over the years, lobbied on behalf of illegal immigrants, including promoting the fraudulent matrícula consular identification cards, supporting issuing state driver’s licenses, advocating for lower in-state university tuition, and founding Hispanic political activism organizations.

The United States shares the blame for Mexico’s prominent role in American affairs. To naturalize, an immigrant must renounce all foreign allegiances and surrender his foreign passport. But the United States has been passive about enforcing this logical requirement. Instead, it allows dual citizenship, which dilutes citizenship’s true meaning, encourages immigrants to retain ties to their homeland and slows assimilation.

The precise total of dual citizens who live in the United States is unknown, but estimates range up to 6 million, most of them Mexican-Americans. In 1998, Mexico passed a law that declared persons born in Mexico or to Mexican nationals living abroad can claim Mexican citizenship even if they are citizens of another country.

Lax oversight of dual citizenship has led to some unfavorable consequences. Political consultant Juan Hernandez, Texas-born, was a member of former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s cabinet. Critics consider Fox one of the most virulent anti-American Mexican presidents. He recently said that Mexico “would not pay for that (expletive deleted) wall.”

Considering how Mexico has had its way with past U.S. administrations and in light of Trump’s commitment to the wall, Peña Nieto’s cancelation is understandable. Mexico is used to dealing with pliable U.S. presidents.

But Peña Nieto should reconsider. His one term expires in 2018, so he’s not politically vulnerable back home.

Peña Nieto’s remaining months would be better spent helping Mexico come to grips with the new Trump reality, not pouting at Los Pinos, his official presidential residency.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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